The sugar content of carrots begins to drop as soon as they’re pulled, so the most flavourful roots will always be the ones you grow yourself. Although carrots are a cool season crop, midsummer plantings are just as successful, providing they’re grown in moist, well-mulched soil. “Short day” European novelty carrots can’t be planted until daylengths are less than 15 hours a day (mid-July in many regions), or plants will bolt.
In midsummer, sow the carrot seeds more deeply than in spring (1 centimetre is ideal) and cover them with a light layer of compost or sand for easy seedling emergence. Continue to sow more seed at 20 day intervals, continuing up to about 55 days before your area’s first hard, killing frost. Carrots that are sown in midsummer are far less likely to be troubled by carrot rust fly larvae than earlier, main-season crops.
Carrots are at their sweetest and juiciest when young, so it’s not necessary to wait until they’ve reached their maturity date before you begin harvesting; even mature carrots can be left in the ground for several weeks before they begin to get tough.
Quick tip: Overly wet soil conditions produce short, stubby carrots, while drought will cause the roots to fork.
Short-daylength novelty carrots for midsummer sowing (63 to 70 days)
- 'Crème de Lite'
- 'Purple Haze'